24 December 2011

The night before Christmas (in Hannover)

'Twas the night before Christmas, and all through Hannover,
Not an ex-pat was stirring, nor any Ausländer.
The stockings were hung by the flat door with care.
Pointless, because St. Nick was already there.

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
with bilingual names of presents in their heads.
And us in our jammies, lying down in our beds,
had just settled down from shopping 'til dead.

When out in the courtyard there arose such a clatter,
I jumped out of bed to see what was the matter.
Must be some drunks, I thought with some dread,
but I hope it is St. Nick instead.

The moon was obscured by rain clouds – no snow.
'Twas all rainy and icky. White Christmas, no show.
When what to my wondering eyes should appear,
but a guy in a St. Nick suit, and he was headed here.

Dressed all in red, from his head to his foot,
I knew in a flash that St. Nick had come to it.
But where are the reindeer, I thought to myself,
where's Dasher and Donner, or Rudolf himself?

He strolled his way towards me, his bag in his hand,
bulging with stuff, many presents so grand.
He saw I was watching, and he gave me a wink
and walked right up to me. Didn't know what to think.

And then, in a twinkling, he opened his mouth,
and out came a question, of that there was no doubt.
But it was in German, and my German is weak,
so I stood there dumb, unable to speak.

I asked, "Are you St. Nick?" and he gave me a look
and shook his head slowly, and said as I shook,
"Nein, war am Sechsten", he replied in his German.
"Ich bin der Weihnachtsmann!" Which I had failed to determine.

Then he repeated his previous query,
this time in English, since my German is weary.
"Does Family Müller live here in this house?"
"No," I said, "number seven, next door." So he turned to go out.

"Wrong number," he said with a sheepish small grin,
"I'm new here in Hannover, 'til now in Berlin."
"I'm new here too!" I replied with a smile,
"Come meet us at Mezzo! H4ES, worth your while!"

A very merry (or happy for you Limeys) Christmas to all!